It’s a question you probably never knew you wanted answered: Why are barns usually painted red?
This Old House recently brought this head-scratcher to the internet’s attention, and the explanation is surprisingly simple. First of all, red paint wasn’t always the iconic cherry red we associate with the outbuildings of today’s farms. Hundreds of years ago, farmers combined ferrous oxide, or rust, with oil to treat barn wood, resulting in more of a burnt-orange hue. The rust was a cheap tinting agent and helped protect the structure from decay, writes Megan Baker.
According to HowStuffWorks, rust serves as a “poison” to fungi like mold and moss, which can trap moisture in the barn’s wood, causing decay. So there you have it: red paint was more of a strategic decision than a design choice. Although, that’s not to deter anyone from loving a bright-red barn purely for its aesthetic appeal — they certainly are stunning.
(h/t This Old House)